Syracuse sophomore forward Jerami Grant to enter NBA draft
Grant is the second Syracuse underclassmen to declare for the 2014 draft, as point guard Tyler Ennis declared soon after the season ended. Syracuse departing senior C.J. Fair is also considered a likely NBA draft pick.
"This is his time," Harvey Grant said. "This is his time. He got a chance to live out a dream of his."
Harvey Grant said he and his son met with Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim about 10 days ago to let them know they were going to discuss it as a family. He said Jerami informed Boeheim of his decision sometime within the last 48 hours.
"The team had a decent season and you know how young kids watch what people say," Harvey Grant said. "He thought about it and asked me. He said, ‘Dad, I’m thinking about it.’ Take some time and thinking about it. He came to me, ‘I’m behind you 110-percent.’ We’re going to do it the right way. You’re going to sit down and talk to coach and let him know instead of going out on the Twitter stuff."
Grant’s declaration is considered a risk in NBA circles, as he’s projected anywhere between No. 15 and No. 25. Grant made a huge leap from his freshman to his sophomore season, as his scoring average jumped from 3.9 to 12.1 points per game. Grant earned increased playing time by overhauling his jump shot, which was broken when he arrived at Syracuse. The biggest strides came at the free throw line, as Grant improved from 56.2 percent to 67.4 percent.
"We have no idea," Harvey Grant said about where Jeremy will be picked in the draft. "You know how this goes."
Grant’s body, bloodlines and athleticism make him a high-end prospect, but his game still needs polishing. Two NBA executives told SI.com earlier in the year that Grant would likely spend time in the development league before becoming a regular in an NBA rotation.
Grant is 6-foot-8 and 210 pounds with a vertical more than 40 inches. (The combination of Grant’s 7-3 ¾ wingspan and vertical did not allow Syracuse strength coaches to get an accurate measurement, as Grant out-jumped the 12-foot Vertec measuring device.)
Grant will need to continue to fill out his frame. The question will be his jump shot. He worked hard with Syracuse assistant Adrian Autry to refine it since arriving on campus. But range will be an issue in the NBA, as Grant will play both the small forward and power forward positions. Grant’s range is limited for a small forward, as he didn’t hit a three-point shot the entire season at Syracuse. His mid-range jumper did improve, as did his shooting percentage Syracuse rarely ran plays for Grant last season -- his offense was generated by his energy on offensive rebounds and put-backs. In the NBA game, he would be relied upon to do the same.